New Brunswick is reporting 639 new cases of COVID-19 and four deaths since the last update on Dec. 24.
In a release, the province said 309 new cases were found on Saturday, 179 on Sunday, and 151 on Monday.
A person in their 80s in the Moncton region, a person in their 80s in the Fredericton region, a person in their 70s in the Edmunston region, and a person in their 70s in the Miramichi region, have died as a result of the virus during that time period, the release said.
Read more: COVID-19: N.B. reports 1 death, record-breaking 265 cases on Christmas Eve
Of the new cases, 188 are in Zone 1 (Moncton region), 278 are in Zone 2 (Saint John region), 66 are in Zone 3 (Fredericton region), 60 are in Zone 4 (Edmundston region), 10 are in Zone 5 (Campbellton region), 14 are in Zone 6 (Bathurst region) and 23 are in Zone 7 (Miramichi region).
There are a total of 35 people in hospital, including 14 people in intensive care. Nine people are on a ventilator. The release said of those in hospital, 20 are over age 60. No one under 19 is hospitalized.
According to the release, 82.8 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 89.9 per cent have received their first dose, and 18.3 per cent have received a booster dose.
With 438 recoveries, there are now 1,850 active cases, according to the COVID-19 dashboard.
As of 11:59 p.m. Monday, the province will move into Level 2 of its winter action plan to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The new restrictions include:
- The current household plus Steady 20 is replaced with household plus Steady 10.
- Patrons dining at restaurants must show proof of vaccination and tables must be at least two metres apart.
- Restaurants, retail stores, malls, businesses, gyms, salons and spas, and entertainment centres may continue to operate, but at 50 per cent capacity and with two metres of distance between patrons.
- For public gatherings, venues cannot have events with more than 150 people or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is less.
- Faith venues may operate at 50 per cent capacity and with physical distancing. Choirs are not permitted but one soloist may perform if they are at least four metres from the congregation.
- All travellers, including New Brunswickers returning to the province, must register or have a multi-use travel pass. Travellers arriving by air will be provided with a rapid test kit.
- Unvaccinated people entering the province must isolate and be tested on day 10. International travellers must follow federal testing and isolation guidelines and must be tested on day five and day 10.
- Travellers must follow public health measures when in New Brunswick including wearing a mask, physically distancing and staying within a Steady 10.
A full list of what the winter action plan entails can be found on the Government of New Brunswick website.
The release said COVID-19 assessment centres are experiencing an increase in demand for PCR testing, which has created a backlog in some areas.
“Additional resources and additional hours are being added to the Saint John assessment centre to help clear the backlog of approximately 2,100 requests in Zone 2,” it said.
All tests for priority groups, including Public Health referrals, healthcare workers and those who work and live in vulnerable settings, are scheduled within 72 hours. The next priorities, which are people with symptoms or those who have received a positive point-of-care test result, are being booked for a test within 120 hours.
In Zone 3, where there is a backlog of about 640 requests, tests for the first priority groups are being scheduled within 24 to 48 hours while tests for the next priority groups are being booked within 96 hours.
“Should you test positive using a rapid point of care test, you must immediately isolate and book your PCR test. Your household should also rapid test daily while you await your PCR test and test results,” it said.
“Also, please notify your close contacts that you have tested positive on a rapid test and they should self-monitor for symptoms. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should schedule a PCR test via an assessment centre.”